Last night I saw the last one hour of Dil Chahta hai on cable and you know what, it was as enjoyable as it was the first time. And the few other times I've caught bits of it on TV.
It's like every frame and dialogue of the film, every actor and character was perfect in its place. This film - even 20 years from now - will be a classic.
At the other end of the spectrum is Virudh, a film which should never have been made and certainly should not be seen. Just about everything in Virudh has been seen before/ done before in some other film and yet, we are told 'it's different'.
The old and still in love couple: Amitabh and Hema Malini were far better in Baghban. Love in old age, by the way, is all about remembering one's spouse takes his/ her medicines on time.
"Amitabh Bachchan" - 30 years ago he was the angry young man. In Virudh he becomes the angry old man. He couldn't have hoped to top his performance in Sarkar - and doesn't.
John 'cardboard' Abraham: John is only good for certain kinds of roles - the kind where he wears gunjees or rides bikes. In Virudh he flits in and out of scenes dressed in a spotless white kurta. "Surprise" . White = ghost = dead son narrating story in flashback.
VJ Anusha - An entirely unconvincing firang girlfriend. Just because your boyfriend's mum oils your hair you agree to marry him?
Sanjay Dutt: Plays the mandatory Muslim character 'Ali', the friendly neighbourhood mechanic who beats the lawyer who loses the old couple's case to a pulp. He should have beaten up the director instead.
Mahesh Manjrekar: I always thought this guy was the poor man's Ramgopal Varma. Even that sounds like a compliment after this film. Clearly his heart was not in this film. Nor was his head.
I think a film either has to be interestingly realistic (Chandni Bar, Page 3 types), or completely candyfloss and over the top (Karan Johar style). Virudh is neither here nor there.
On the one hand, we're told this is an old retired couple (one, a school principal and the other an Air India employee). But, they live in a palatial bungalow in Vile Parle.
There is something very fake and disconnected about Virudh - you don't really care when John dies so how would you care whether his father avenges his death?
The funniest bits of the film, however are the three advertisements it features. I call them ads and not product placements because that's what they are.
a) Elf lubricants: Ever seen all the mechanics at a service station togged out in spotless navy blue Elf lubricant overalls? Standing under an Elf signboard?? There's a small lecture thrown in too - on the importance of using the 'correct' engine oil.
b) Nerolac paint: Mera beta do saal ke baad London se aa raha hai! So, Papa and his four friends - all age 60 and above - paint the house. They can afford Nerolac emulsion but not a painter.
c) Western Union money transfer: Amitabh asks Sharmila - 'Aap ke paas paanch hazaar rupaye hain? Lawyer ki fees deni hai". Then he reminisces... how his son used to send him money from London (most students I know of ask their dads to send them money nut never mind!)
Son on the phone from London: Dad ek short code hota hai ...
Dad: Mujhe paise mil gaye
Son: Itni jaldi?
Dad: Yes, thanks to Western Union
Or well, something like that....
And to think the Times of India gave this movie FOUR stars!